Product Description: This Late War BSW Pilot Badge is in outstanding condition. It’s made of zinc, as one would expect for a piece of this vintage. It has nearly all of the original finish on the front, which is very unusual for a zinc badge. The eagle is a great, highly detailed strike, and retains fantastic original dark finish, with slight wear to high points. The outer wreath is beautiful, with full silvering, and polished highlights that retain original luster. The reverse of this Late War BSW Pilot Badge has an old patina, and typical slight bubbling of the finish. The back of the eagle is neatly stamped with the BSW “clover leaf” logo. The soldered hinge and catch and round wire pin are intact, functional, and show no sign of repair. It would be hard to find a nicer example of this pilot badge variation.
Historical Description: The Luftwaffe Pilots Badge was instituted by Reichsmarschall Hermann Göring on August 12, 1935. It was among the earliest badges introduced in the German Wehrmacht, and was worn by all qualified pilots in the German Air Force, similar to the “wings” worn by some other armies. The design of the badge featured a large, swooping eagle clutching the German national swastika emblem, surrounded by a wreath of oak and laurel leaves. The badge was normally presented in a blue hinged case. It was worn on the upper left uniform pocket, and a cloth version was also authorized for field use. In the nearly ten years from the introduction of this badge, to the end of WWII, the manufacturers of these awards made many changes in the features of the designs. Some companies, like Juncker, Assmann, and Deumer, had early first pattern badges which looked completely different from later pieces by the same manufacturers. Pilots badges were made of aluminum, nickel silver, plated Tombak, and zinc. The eagle was always a separate piece, riveted to the wreath, with different manufacturers using different rivet designs. As the war progressed, and dies wore out, many makers produced badges with subtle changes. All of these changes over time open up a large spectrum of variation collecting for Luftwaffe badge collectors.
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